Beckman Adams lead Byron Nelson

By Associated PressMay 22, 2010, 5:14 am

HP Byron Nelson ChampionshipIRVING, Texas – Golf fans of all ages, the Byron Nelson Championship has something for you this weekend.

Kids, check out 16-year-old Jordan Spieth. He played hooky from his junior year of high school to make his PGA Tour debut, becoming the first prep to take on the pros here since Tiger Woods in 1993. Woods didn’t make the cut then, but Spieth cleared it with ease Friday, becoming the sixth-youngest player to do so at a Tour event.

For folks who’ve been following the sport since long before Spieth was born, the guy to watch is 47-year-old Steve Elkington. He got into the field as an alternate on Sunday, when someone else dropped out, then shot a 66 to become part of a seven-way tie for the lead. He followed with another 66, putting him two shots behind the lead.

Weekend warriors will love Blake Adams, a 34-year-old rookie who spent the last three years on the Nationwide Tour and whose career story is a funny, sad tale about perseverance. He, too, was part of that cluster at the top after the first round, then piled up six birdies on his way to a 64 and a 10-under 130 and a share of the second-round lead.

Finally, in a tournament lacking really big names, there are the guys hoping it’s their turn in the spotlight, like Cameron Beckman and Jason Day.

Beckman won a Tour event for the first time a few months ago, but it was against a weak field and he’s struggled ever since. He teed it up Friday right around the cut line, only to walk off the course around lunchtime with the lead.

Beckman finished his delayed opening round with a pair of birdies that turned a 1-over into a 1-under 69, then shot a 61, tying the TPC Four Seasons course record and setting a personal best. He’s tied for first with Adams; Day is a stroke behind. Spieth is tied for 22nd at 3-under 137.

“I feel like I played better than my score showed today,” said Spieth, who already has accepted a sponsor’s invitation to play the PGA event in Memphis, June 10-13. “When something like that happens, and you’re still somewhat in it, you kind of realize that if putts start to drop, you can make a run at it.

Blake Adams swings golf club
Adams is tied for the lead heading into the weekend. (Getty Images)
“I don’t want to think of myself as the amateur out here. I want to think of myself as a contender.”

The kid opened the day needing to finish seven holes from his suspended opening round, which was at even par. He made a pair of birdies to finish at 68, took about a half-hour break, then shot 69 in the second round. He had three birdies and two bogeys.

He followed his second bogey by jerking an approach into a bunker he was trying to avoid. He chipped close enough to make birdie. On No.18, he thrilled a gallery filled with screaming teenagers by landing a shot 12 feet from the cup.

 

“He’s just playing the way he’s capable of playing,” said Tony Romo, the Dallas Cowboys quarterback who befriended Spieth months ago and joined his gallery for the final three holes.

Elkington first played this event in 1987, long before Spieth was born and about 1 1/2 years before the birth of Rickie Fowler, one of his playing partners.

He was once a star, winning 10 PGA Tour events in the 1990s, including a major. He hasn’t won since 1999, and hasn’t finished better than 54th on the money list, more often landing in the 100s. He missed the cut here the last two years.

“I had a great 90s, I didn’t do much in the last decade, so I’m glad that’s over with, you know?” he said. “Last year, for example, I had rounds where I played one day like Sam Snead the next day like Sam Sausage. I did that last week in San Antonio.”

He’s eager to see if he can put together two more days like the last two.

“I want to try to get myself under as much pressure as I can,” he said. “I want to see what it’s all about for me, you know?”

Adams is a good ol’ boy from Georgia who knew he’d be an athlete, but didn’t expect it to be golf. Worn-out rotator cuffs and all sorts of broken bones limited his options.

Since turning pro in 2001, he’s had a bulging disk in his back, arthritis, bone spurs, a cyst and a hip that needs to be replaced. Therapy on the hip in late 2008 and early 2009 helped launch him onto the Tour, where he’s been able to take advantage of the physical therapy trailer. This was the eighth cut he’s made in 14 starts, with one top-10 finish.

“I’ve always believed in myself, like any athlete does,” Adams said. “I knew that if I was healthy that I could do things.”

Beckman won a February tournament opposite the Match Play Championship, then missed six of seven cuts. He admits to “maybe a little lull after the win, I think I lost a little focus,” such as working on getting a pilot’s license.

Three hard weeks of practice, and ironing out a flaw in his alignment (“I’ve been lining up right since I won”) seem to have made a big difference.

Day is a 22-year-old Australian who long been hailed as a future star. His season has been set back by illnesses, but a new diagnosis seems to be paying off.

“The goal tomorrow and the next day is to stay patient and try and give myself a chance to make the birdies,” Day said.

Vijay Singh and Rickie Fowler won’t be sticking around for the weekend. They can use the time to pick a sectional qualifying site for the U.S. Open.

Both missed the cut, which means they missed their chance to get an automatic spot in the Open. Singh needed to finish in the top four, Fowler in the top seven, to move into the top 50 in the world rankings released Monday, which is the deadline for those spots securing the major berth.

NOTES: Ken Duke had the first hole-in-one at this tournament since Singh in 2005. … The seven-way tie for the lead after the first round ups the chances for this event to be won by the opening-round leader. That hasn’t happened since Scott Simpson in 1993. … Defending champion Rory Sabbatini is at 135. So is Corey Pavin, who needs this tournament to become the first person ever to win a Texas Slam, all four PGA Tour events in the Lone Star State.

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Women's NCAA finals: Arizona vs. Alabama

By Jay CoffinMay 22, 2018, 11:49 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – It’s the SEC vs. the Pac 12 for the women’s NCAA Championship; Alabama vs. Arizona, to be more specific.

Both the Crimson Tide and Wildcats cruised in their respective semifinal matches Tuesday at Karsten Creek. Alabama easily beat USC, 3-1-1; Arizona defeated match-play juggernaut Stanford, 4-1.

Alabama’s top three players, Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight were unstoppable forces in both matches on the marathon day. Stacked in the top three positions in the semifinals all three won their matches on the 17th hole, making the last two matches inconsequential.


NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage


Arizona, the eighth seed, won as decisively as second-seeded Alabama, but needed a miracle to be in this position in the first place.

Junior Bianca Pagdanganan drained a 30-footer for eagle on the last hole of stroke play on Monday to get the Wildcats into a playoff against Baylor, which they won on the second hole. Then on Tuesday, presumably running on fumes, they downed top-seeded UCLA in the morning, then crushed Pac-12 foe Stanford in the afternoon.

Pagdanganan, Gigi Stoll and Hayley Moore each won both matches for Arizona on the hot, draining day.

“I don’t want to let them down so I do my best to rise to the occasion,” Pagdanganan said.

Said Arizona coach Laura Ianello: “How many players, when you tell them under pressure that you need them, can really handle it,” Ianello said about Pagdanganan. “This kid can.”

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NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 11:30 pm

The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

After three days of stroke play, eight teams advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals were contested Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live finals action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

Scoring:

TV Times (all times ET):

Wednesday
4-8PM: Match-play finals (Click here to watch live)

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Fort Worth Invitational: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 10:30 pm

The PGA Tour makes the short drive from Dallas to Fort Worth and Colonial Country Club. Here are the key stats and information for this week. Click here for full-field tee times.

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 4-7PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 4-7PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.


Purse: $7.1 million

Course: Colonial Country Club (par 70, 7,209 yards)

Defending champion: Kevin Kisner. Last year he defeated Jordan Spieth, Sean O’Hair and Jon Rahm by one stroke


Notables in the field

Jordan Spieth

• Finished T-2, 1st and T-2 in last three starts in this tournament

• 52 under par at Colonial last five years (best of anyone by 27 strokes in that span)

• 100 birdies/eagles made here last five years (most of anyone in that span)


Rickie Fowler

• First start since missed cut at The Players

• More missed cuts (3) than top-10 finishes (2) in 2018


Jon Rahm at the 2018 WGC-Mexico Championship.

Jon Rahm

• Finished T-2 in this tournament last year (66 in final round)

• 17 top-5 finishes in 46 official worldwide individual starts as professional


Webb Simpson

• First start since Players victory (fifth PGA Tour win)

• Fifth on Tour in strokes gained: putting this season (177th two seasons ago)

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Maguire's storied Duke career comes to an end

By Ryan LavnerMay 22, 2018, 8:39 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – After losing in the quarterfinals here at the NCAA Women’s Championship, Duke coach Dan Brooks gathered his team and walked back toward the 18th hole. He wanted to get away and deliver a parting speech to senior Leona Maguire, one of the most important players in program history.

“I feel like I didn’t say enough, and I feel like I didn’t say it right,” he said afterward. “I guess that’s inevitable when dealing with a player who has meant so much.”

Maguire’s heralded Duke career came to an end Tuesday when she and her teammates dropped their quarterfinal match to Southern Cal, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2. Maguire did her part, winning, 1 up, against USC’s Jennifer Chang, but it still wasn’t enough.

Maguire will go down as one of the best players not just in Duke’s storied history, but all time in college golf. She’s a two-time Player of the Year. She finished with the best scoring average (70.93) in Division I women’s golf history. She had a record 32 competitive rounds in the 60s. She spent 135 weeks at the top of the World Amateur Golf Rankings, another record.

The 23-year-old from Ireland is the rare collegian who turned down guaranteed LPGA status to return to school to earn her degree and try to win a NCAA title with twin sister Lisa, the team’s No. 5 player. Ultimately, they never reached the championship match.

“I wouldn’t change a thing,” she said softly outside the clubhouse. “The experiences, the memories, I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Maguire said that she’s turning pro soon and has a full schedule upcoming. She’ll play the ShopRite LPGA Classic and then try to capitalize on her full status on the developmental Symetra circuit.

Asked about her potential at the next level, Brooks said that Maguire can be a future Hall of Famer.

“She’s the hardest worker and the smartest player I’ve ever coached,” he said. “I’m really going to miss her.”